Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed legislation requiring a background check for all gun purchases in Colorado, a bill that requires the gun buyer to pay for that background check, as well as legislation that restricts gun magazine capacity to 15 rounds of ammunition. The new regulations will begin on July 1.
Historically, Colorado has been a pro-gun rights state, accounted for by the state’s vast rural, and sometimes isolated, terrain. But in more recent history, the state has been home to two of the nation’s most well-known mass shootings — at Columbine High School and the Aurora movie theater.
Gun control advocates were hopeful that Wednesday’s signing would help convince other states to enact their own gun control legislation.
“If legislation like this can pass in Colorado, it can happen anywhere,” said Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington, D.C. “It shows that it’s entirely possible to respect the Second Amendment, and still do much more to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
“I am happy the governor is signing common-sense legislation that reduces gun violence in our communities by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic violence offenders and the seriously mentally ill,” said Democratic state Rep. Rhonda Fields, who represents the district where the Aurora theater shooting happened last July.
Those on the gun rights side of the argument, however, found fault with the signing. Republican State Sen. Greg Brophy represents one of the more rural districts in Colorado.
“He just slapped rural Colorado right in the face,” Brophy said about Hickenlooper’s signing of the bill. “They are overwhelmingly upset about this.”
Besides the obvious Second Amendment issues, many other pro-gun advocates pointed to losses in jobs and business that will occur because of the new legislation. One company, Magpul Industries, which manufactures gun magazines and accessories in Colorado, has already announced that they will be leaving the state in order to re-establish their business elsewhere.
Many sheriffs in the state have come out opposing the legislation, with a few even announcing that they will not enforce it. One sheriff, Terry Maketa of El Paso County, Colo., even went so far as to say that he would destroy any concealed carry records his department held, rather than hand them over.
“[I]f anyone tried to get their hands on it [database of gun owners], I would destroy the database [and] would intervene if government agents started arresting county residents for exercising their constitutional rights,” Maketa said.